Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (unabridged audiobook read by Ilyana Kadushin): I am often surprised by the depth of feeling people express for this book, from unconditional adoration to absolute loathing. So when I had an opportunity to get a free copy, I decided to find out what all the fuss was about.

Bella is the new girl in town; Edward is the mysterious stranger. The romance at the core of this story is certainly nothing new, and neither is the vampire angle. The writing isn’t all that great: the descriptions are bland, the dialogue unnatural, and the narration amateurish. Adverbs abound. Bella shares her every thought and repeats herself constantly. The text is a shining example of why consistently avoiding “said” is terribly distracting. Most of what we learn about the characters is from the narrator’s descriptions rather than their actions, and I still have absolutely no idea what Edward sees in Bella except as an entree. The plot alternates between forced and outright silly. Worst of all, Bella is a total Mary Sue. I was repeatedly reminded of the sorts of romantic fantasies I wrote about as a teenager. There isn’t a whole lot to recommend this book, from a technical standpoint.

But. (You saw that coming, didn’t you?) I can, on the other hand, understand the draw. I remember being that teenager who wrote this sort of unlikely drivel. I remember the obsession over boys and the fervent hope that he would ask me out. I even remember fantasizing about having too many suitors. So yes, while this book is ridiculous and will probably disappear from collective memory within the decade, I can understand its appeal to awkward teenage girls who dream about men who are both dangerous and devoted, strong and tender, attractive and yet still an outcast. And so I did enjoy it on that level.

I’ve heard a lot of complaints about sparkling vampires, how they’re not “real” vampires. And yes, the vampires in this book are not vulnerable to sunlight (and in fact only avoid it because of the attention their sparkling draws), and the creation of a vampire is not from drinking the blood of a vampire. I would like to mention that Dracula himself was only sometimes hurt by sunlight, and people in that book became vampires both by drinking vampire blood and by simply being bitten (but not killed) by a vampire. I doubt that Dracula did much twinkling, but considering how often Edward’s skin is described in terms of minerals like marble and granite, sparkling isn’t so far fetched. I wouldn’t recommend this book to, say, Anne Rice fans, but I can’t complain much about the authenticity of something that doesn’t exist in the first place.

This may surprise you, but I’m planning on reading the rest of this series. I know what kind of silliness to expect, and I look forward to dissecting Meyer’s werewolf treatment. All in all, I enjoyed Twilight. It’s not my favorite book ever and I doubt I’ll read it again, but it was a fun bit of brain candy. I was never bored; I even chuckled aloud in some places. Many of the characters are quite likable regardless of their lack of depth, and part of me likes being transported back, half a lifetime ago, to an alternate reality where awkward teenage me gets to be the bell of the ball.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

  1. I didn’t want to read this series… but after two family members kept telling me how much they loved it I read the first book. While I’m with you – Meyers isn’t a great writer – I did find I enjoyed the fluff… I went ahead and read the second book, which I didn’t quite as like as the first, but it is an interesting fluffy story. I probably will read the last two books, but I’m not in a rush. Posting areview of the second book later today. Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. A genuine, non-rage-filled review of Twilight on the internet? Surely not.

  3. I dont like the HARRY POTTER books, yet now I’ve bothered to start reading them I have to see it through to the end… You never know, could get better, right?
    I understand where you’re coming from.
    I’ve not read the TWILIGHT series; I’m a tad picky with my vampire stories. I dont even like Anne Rice that much. I’ll get around to reading Stephanie Myer’s books one day, though. I wont be able to help myself…
    ~S.

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